Thursday, June 28, 2012

Green Ghost board game

Sometimes I get fascinated by the strangest things and this certainly qualifies. 'Green Ghost' is a game that was first published in 1965 and much like the old 'Life' and 'Mouse Trap' games it was played on a 3D board assembled for each session. The gameboard was Glow In the Dark and the commercials apparently encouraged you to play it in the dark to get the full efect. I wonder if that ever resulted in harmful accidents? In 1997 Marx Toys produced a 30th Anniversary edition of the Green Ghost which means I had more than a few chances to see this game but somehow never, ever did! How did I miss this sucker? I would have loved it as a kid and in the late 1990s I would have found it to be kitschy fun. I may have to locate a copy just to see it for myself.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ray Milland goes B-Movie!

Ray Milland was a fantastic, often overlooked actor who starred in some amazing movies. THE BIG CLOCK, MINISTRY OF FEAR, THE LONG WEEKEND (for which he got an Oscar), THE UNINVITED, THE MAJOR & THE MINOR and DIAL M FOR MURDER are just a few of the great films he made in his Hollywood player days. But as much as I love Milland's long list of credits from the 1930s through the 1950s I have to say that I prefer his late career plunge into B-cinema that started with the film he also directed- PANIC IN YEAR ZERO (1962). After that excellent apocalyptic tale he was in a number of great movies for Roger Corman and a few terrible ones as well. I mean- no matter how much of a kick I get out the mad sight of Milland's head grafted onto Rosie Grier's shoulder I can't call THE THING WITH TWO HEADS (1972) very good. I know it was supposed to be tongue in cheek but its still pretty bad! But PREMATURE BURIAL (1962) and THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES (1963) are brilliant horror films that are worthy of all the attention they can garner. Of course, I can't defend FROGS (1972) but I get such a kick out of it that I think it blows right past my normal critical objections. 'Today the Pond- Tomorrow the World!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Vampire Tales covers

I'm in the mood for some horror comics! These look good to me. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Red Letter Media reviews PROMETHEUS (2012)

This is, of course, very funny and although I think several of the questions asked are worthy of the derision this heaps on the movie's plot I also think some of the answers are made obvious in the film. Still- this is good fun!

Oh! This is filled with major spoilers so do NOT watch it unless you've seen the film! You have been warned!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Bloody Pit #1 - 10 Favorite Movies

This is the first episode of a new podcast and I must say I'm excited to be bringing this to you. The plan for this show is for each episode be on a different subject depending on whatever the participants want to discuss. For the first show I've decided to do a short, solo piece about my ten favorite movies. This will let listeners know where I'm coming from as a film fan and maybe even hint at some of the topics to be covered in the future. I have hopes that this will spark some back & forth as others compose their list of favorites as well. I've also added an older review to the end that I hope will jumpstart some discussion about a certain science fiction franchise. This is short and sweet (?) so I hope you enjoy the first Bloody Pit Podcast! Drop us a line at and let us know what you think. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ALIEN (1979) trailer

This sucker still works every time I watch it - even when I only catch parts of it as I do other things. And this trailer is incredibly effective. After seeing the PROMETHEUS preview several times I wondered how close it was to the this half-remembered throat-grabber. They are pretty similar except the trailer for the newer film has dialog and seems to slavishly follow the entire plot of the film!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Robin Hood movies

I have a great love of the Robin Hood story that stems from my youthful viewing of the classic Errol Flynn film THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938). For years I stayed away from most all other movie versions of the tale not wanting to dilute my memories of the dashing bad-ass in glorious Technicolor with lesser incarnations of my beloved leader of Merry Men. But in the past several years I have finally started snagging copies of various Sherwood Forest romps and have found that, although none of them surpass the 1938 film, many of them are damned good on their own. My latest discovery is the Hammer film A CHALLENGE FOR ROBIN HOOD (1967) which turns out to be quite an enjoyable piece of fun. It changes the relationships and circumstances of the story I'm familiar with in a number of ways and had me very impressed with its story construction. I liked having the characters slightly different from what I have come to expect after innumerable viewings of Flynn and his co-stars. It was very much like having an alternate history of something I know very well with enough changes made to keep me leaning forward toward the screen to see what odd, unexpected turn things were going to take next. I could carp about the fact the last third is less interesting than the first part of the film and I might wish that the swordplay was better choreographed but it is but it is still a very cool movie. I'll have to check back in with the denizen's of Sherwood again soon to see if Hammer made more good choices with this fantastic English myth. I have at least one more Robin Hood film waiting in the stacks!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

What I Read in May

Bullets and Fire by Joe R. Lansdale  (an excellent short story from the master)
THE ROLLING STONES' EXILE ON MAIN ST. (33 1/3)  by Bill Janovitz
GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL by Jared Diamond (fascinating look at the influence of geography on societies)
A SHORT BIER by Frank Kane (great 1960 Private Eye tale) 

It was a strange, atypical month for my reading. I started and ended May with excellent crime fiction and sandwiched in some excellent non-fiction. My first '33 1/3' book focused on one of my favorite Rolling Stones albums and, as I hoped, opened my eyes to elements of the music I had never before considered. It deepened my appreciation for the songs while giving some good insight into the creation of this astounding collection. I don't know if I could ever name the Stones record that I would consider the best thing they ever did but this book makes a fine case for Exile as the choice.

The non-fiction monster was, of course, Jared Diamond's fantastic science book that explains the political and economic domination of Eurasian societies over cultures from other parts of the world. His well reasoned and scrupulously backed up thesis that the differences or gaps in power and technology between human societies are not primarily caused by cultural or racial differences but originate in environmental differences is logical and convincing. The edition I have had an additional chapter on the Japanese/Korean rift and could have been its own fascinating book length project. I understand this book has become regularly assigned reading at the college level in the sciences but I feel it should be taught in high schools in this country. It certainly establishes an intelligent way of looking at societal development that moves away from the asinine view that some races are better suited to power than others. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

What I Watched in May

Just one trip to the theater last month but it was to see the biggest hit of Summer 2012 so far. THE AVENGERS is a damned good film and easily one of the best comic book movies of the latest crop of slick, fan boy satisfying, big budget, pleasure center stroking geek-fests. This is the big cinematic Super Hero film that every fantasizing little boy has dreamed of for decades and its served up with everything in its proper place.  It even has plenty of small in-jokes for the knowledgeable fanboys to smile and titter over as they revel in the joy of being 'in the know' when the 'Johnny Come Latelys' ask silly mundane questions about the details of the story, dialog and just who the Hell that was onscreen right before the end credits rolled. In other words, I loved every testosterone filled, smart-assed minute of this thing!

That's not to say its a perfect movie. It starts off a bit too slow, feeling more like a SHIELD film than the great team action extravaganza we came to see. I did feel that after four or five lead-in movies it was long past time to get the group in place, get the bad guys in motion and start the bass-assery ASAP but once the story began to take shape all was forgiven. Actually, the scene in which The Black Widow took out a room full of mafia goons with her hands literally tied behind her back was the moment I lost most of my doubts about the film. From there on it felt a lot like watching a classic Avengers multi-issue storyline being put onscreen. I would have loved to see more characters (Giant Man, The Wasp, Black Panther, etc.) but the group assembled here is quite satisfying. Now I want my Hawkeye and Black Widow film!

Oh! And the less said about the long awaited THE WICKER TREE the better. 'Bad' barely covers it. 

GUNN (1967)- 6
THE FIFTH CORD (1971)- 8 (well shot, well crafted mystery with Franco Nero)
SISTERS (1971) - 7 (rewatch)
SUCKER PUNCH (extended cut) - 8 (same rating)
THE AVENGERS (2012)- 9
THE DEVIL WITHIN HER (1975)- 6 (possessed baby vs. Joan Collins)
LOCKOUT (2012)- 5 (not terrible but dumb as a bag of hammers)
THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE (2009)- 9 (fantastic romantic tale)
THE GIRL IN ROOM 2A (1974)- 6 (interesting horror mystery)
DOOMSDAY (2008) - 7 (rewatch) (completely derivative, trashy fun)
LICANTROPO (1996)- 5 (last Daninsky film is not a complete disaster)
HUNTER PREY (2010)- 7 (solid, low budget science fiction film)
HAVANA WIDOWS (1933)- 7 (fast, funny Pre-Code comedy)
THE LONE WOLF TAKES A CHANCE (1941)- 6 (good programmer thriller)

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Howie's Haunted Halloween Nightmare - animated short film

This was made by a good friend of mine as a student project. Its a pretty damned fun homage to the classic black & white cartoons of the 1920s and 1930s. I've always had a love for the shorts from that era that were willing to delve into darker subject matter than the shows we were allowed to see on Saturday morning TV when I was a kid.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

GREEN SLIME (1969) poster art

Because everyone needs a little Green Slime in their life from time to time.